Cultivate Blog

Part two: How to give better gifts

Posted by Jenny McGee on 7/19/22 8:09 AM

In the first part of this blog series, our team of Gifting Experts shares two principles that your company can apply to transform gifting programs into relationship boosters and business development tools. In the second part of this blog series, we share two more principles that your company can apply to further evolve internal and external gifting programs that will help you bring out the best in people and choose your appreciation resources wisely. 

As a friendly reminder, these principles are most effective when applied to meaningful relationships your business wants to invest in, but some of them will be applicable to anyone—even new hires and prospective customers. Without further adieu, let’s dive into part two!

Bring out the best in people

The only thing that people enjoy more than being seen is being recognized for something they’re really good at. A while ago, a client shared a story about a colleague who showed her some landscape pictures he had been taking on his phone, outside of his normal 9 to 5 career. The client noted how expressive he was when he was complimented on the photos. “Clearly, his talent had never been recognized by anyone before. His face lit up, and he proceeded to show me more pictures for a good while.”

So when the client invited him to her Virtual Gifting platform for last year’s holiday program, he selected a digital camera that allows him to take photos and instantly print them. To which the client told us, “Since then, he’s been publishing his pictures daily on social media, going to new places to take new photographs, and talking to people about it. I’ve never seen him happier!”

The main takeaway from this principle is this: powerful gifts enhance relationships. A non-work scenario example is not giving your kid toys every week to compensate for your absence as a working parent but instead finding more time to be with him or her and then learning what toy he or she would really enjoy receiving. Use gifts as symbols of goodness, positive enhancers, and closeness generators, and let them be the triggers to help other people love themselves (and you) more.

Choose your resources wisely

Let’s forget about the gifts themselves for a moment. Instead, let’s focus on what makes gifts great: the value we attribute to them. Despite what most of us may think, one study has found that gifts you spend the most time choosing for someone else are not perceived as more enjoyable by the receiver. Just because you spend a lot of time searching doesn’t mean they will enjoy your gift more.

This gives us a lot of freedom when it comes to choosing our resources. Money, time, and energy are three of the most commonly used resources for gifting. Thus, when you choose which of those resources you will use to attribute value to your gift, take two things into account:

  1. Your relationship with him or her
  2. The gifting options you can or feel like offering

Different people have different ways of perceiving value in things they receive. This is especially noticeable for people in relationships. In his book The 5 Love Languages, Gary Chapman distinguishes five main ways that people like to be shown love:

  1. Words of affirmation
  2. Acts of service
  3. Receiving gifts
  4. Quality time
  5. Physical touch

We believe that this framework can, to a certain extent, be applied to all relationships (with certain reservations for physical touch—we’re not so sure all your coworkers would be into unexpected hugs or casual back rubs). However, what we are asking you to consider is the possibility that sometimes the things that might seem the most insignificant or small to you can have the greatest impact on another person.

To explain what we mean, here’s a second example from another client’s success story: “A few months ago, a coworker received over 20 birthday gifts, including a flower-themed calendar, an animal-themed calendar, and a box full of beauty products (which, if you really knew her, you’d know she doesn’t use), a set of candles, and a few more calendars.

When I sent her an invitation to select a gift of her choice from our online gifting platform, I added a note to the email about how much I appreciated her loyalty and dedication to the company. When she read my email, tears started falling down her face. Weeks later, she told me that she still rereads it as a meaningful, personalized reminder when she’s having a tough week or just needs a reminder of how much we truly value her contributions.”

Personalized messages like this help reinforce your appreciation in a non-tangible way even after they’ve selected a gift of their choice. Recognize their work in front of their team. Congratulate them on a job well done. Write them a note. Ask them about the gift they selected and how they’re using and enjoying it. Furthermore, choose the simplest way to make someone happy: listen, hold space, and show them they are valued.

The best thing about this is that you don’t need to wait for special occasions in order to give gifts—you can apply this principle to your everyday interactions. Make appreciation a routine, and you’ll see how it changes your life and that of those around you.

To learn more about Cultivate’s variety of gifting solutions, connect with our team of Gifting Experts. Stay tuned for the final part of this series!

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